Bar Chords on the Guitar
Commencement, 9th Grade, 10th Grade, 11th Grade, 12th Grade
- 1. Anticipatory Set: Review how to read notes in treble clef. Ask students, as a do now, to write the notes A, B, C, D, E, F and G in treble clef on a piece of staff paper. After students have had ample time to write down their notes have students come to the board individually and drag the notes on the SMART Board to provide the correct answers.
- 2. Introduce Sharps: Tell students that when you add a sharp (looks like a pound sign) to a note, it raises it a half step and that a half step is on fret on the guitar. Tell students that, for practical purposes, B# and E# do not exist.
- 3. Introduce Flats: Tell students that when you add a flat (looks like a b) to a note, it raises it a half step and that a half step is on fret on the guitar. Tell students that, for practical purposes, Cb and Fb do not exist.
- 4. Introduce the concept of enharmonic equivalence: Tell students that a Sharp equals a flat above it and vice-versa. So for example Eb=D#, F#=Gb. Remind students that there are no B#, E#, Cb or Fb. The page Any Flat Equals the Sharp Below It visually represents this as well as asks students to provide some enharmonic equivalents.
- 5. Midway assessment: For the pages in green in the notebook file, assess if students understand the concept of sharps, flats and enharmonic equivalence by having them drag the notes that are enharmonically equivalent.
- 6. Finding these notes on the fret board: Show students, by putting each of the notes in the correct fret on the correct string, that the frets go up by half steps. After the teacher has demonstrated where the notes go, clear the board and ask students to put notes in the correct fret and string. The green square in the top right-hand corner maybe used to demarcate particular frets to help students focus on the spot you are asking them to correctly answer.
- 7. Introduce Major bar chord based off the E string. Have students Try to play major bar chords based off of the E string. The chart in the lower right-hand corner shows them how to finger the chord. Both the picture of the hand and the fingering of the chord in blue may be moved and place on different parts of the fret board.
- 8. Repeat this process of #7 for the other bar chords in the next three notebook pages.
- 9. Have students play songs with bar chords in them. Review all or any of the following songs: Creep by Radiohead, What is Love by Haddaway, When the Night Feels my Song by Bedouin Sound Clash, Apologize by New Republic and Toxic by Britney Spears.
- 9a. As an extension, the teacher may discuss issues of gender and race in the music and words to Britney Spear’s Toxic. Hawkins & Richardson (2007) may serve as a source for the teacher to address some of the discourses on gender and race that surround these media. Some questions that might guide the discussion are: “What do you think the title Toxic is about?,” “In the song there is the metaphor of love (or infatuation) as being addictive and toxic, is this a good metaphor? What does this metaphor emphasize about love? What does it de-emphasize?” “If you were assign a place in the world the String motive comes from where would it be? Why do you think that motive is there?”
- 10. Assessment: Have students take a playing test on any of the songs to asses their knowledge of bar chords. Also, students may be asked to play bar chords by name. For instance, say “Please play a G# major bar chord”
Have students take a playing test, individually or in small groups, on any of the songs to assess their knowledge of bar chords. Also, students may be asked to play bar chords by name. For instance, say “Please play a G# major bar chord."
This lesson is intended to show students how to play major and minor bar chords on the guitar.
Technology Used: Computer with Internet SMART Board
Other Materials: Guitars
Hawkins, S. & Richardson, J. (2007). Remodeling Britney Spears: Matters of
Intoxication and Mediation. Popular Music and Society. 30(5). 605–629.
- 1. Students will Learn How to read Sharps and Flats
- 2. Students will identify Enharmonic equivalent notes
- 3. Students will learn how to play major and minor bar chords on guitar.
- 4. Students will perform songs that have bar chords.